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Recent Blog Posts


Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014
Huw Evans

Since 2007 public service delivery and reform in Scotland has been aligned with a set of National Outcomes and a single Purpose: "To focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth."  Over time, the Scottish Government, working with its partners in the public, third and private sectors, has developed a distinctive approach to public service delivery and reform to deliver the Purpose and National Outcomes set out in Scotland's National Performance Framework (www.scotland.gov.uk/about/performance/scotperforms).  That approach responds to particular strengths and challenges in Scotland seeking to reduce inequalities and to help ensure the long term sustainability of public finances.  The distinctive Scottish approach is committed to protecting and improving public services through reform and efficiency, and in these tough times, the power of public services to enhance quality of life and improve economic opportunities has never been more important.  To successfully reform our services and ensure they improve outcomes, reduce future demand for services and are financially sustainable, innovative approaches to reform are required to understand the needs and capabilities of communities, and through the implementation of the Government's reform principles; the four pillars of prevention, performance, people and partnership, a recognition of the importance of place and utilising co-production and assets-based methodology to deliver improvement in practice.

Innovative participatory systems-based methods which can help address the challenges of public service reform exist but have not yet been applied in this context.   In this project, the student will draw on three system-based methods (SBMs): Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA), Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), and System Dynamics (SD).  The aim is to develop concrete accounts of how these SBMs, SODA, SSM and SD, can be used (in isolation or combination) to help service providers and communities to reform their services in a thoughtful and participative manner.  We envisage the student will undertake a small number of  action research case studies, where we will actively seek to deploy the SBMs in question to help service managers and key stakeholders (e.g. community planning partnerships, third sector) discuss and agree system reforms following the principles of the Scottish approach and the 4 pillars of reform.   The development of the case studies will be informed by insights from What Works Scotland which is expected to be launched in June 2014.

The student will be supervised by Professors Alec Morton and Susan Howick and will be expected to interact regularly with the Scottish Government as the sponsor and part-funder of this proposal.  

The studentship covers home tuition fees and a stipend of £13,863 pa for 3 years.  Candidates are required to have an excellent Honours (Undergraduate) degree in a relevant business, scientific or social science subject, and a Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred.   An understanding of the Scottish approach to public service delivery and reform would also be desirable.  Interested applicants should send a CV and a short statement of research interest to Professor Alec Morton (alec.morton@strath.ac.uk) by 31st May.  Applicants need to be eligible for UK/EU fees and should also read and confirm that they are eligible for funding according to the ESRC academic and residential criteria, summarised here:http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/postgraduates/prospective-students/eligibility/index.aspx.  The selected candidate will also need to be approved by the Scottish Graduate School-Doctoral Training Centre (http://www.socsciscotland.ac.uk/). 



Professor Alec Morton
Department of Management Science
Strathclyde Business School 
University of Strathclyde
Glasgow



Since 2007 public service delivery and reform in Scotland has been aligned with a set of National Outcomes and a single Purpose: "To focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth."  Over time, the Scottish Government, working with its partners in the public, third and private sectors, has developed a distinctive approach to public service delivery and reform to deliver the Purpose and National Outcomes set out in Scotland's National Performance Framework (www.scotland.gov.uk/about/performance/scotperforms).  That approach responds to particular strengths and challenges in Scotland seeking to reduce inequalities and to help ensure the long term sustainability of public finances.  The distinctive Scottish approach is committed to protecting and improving public services through reform and efficiency, and in these tough times, the power of public services to enhance quality of life and improve economic opportunities has never been more important.  To successfully reform our services and ensure they improve outcomes, reduce future demand for services and are financially sustainable, innovative approaches to reform are required to understand the needs and capabilities of communities, and through the implementation of the Government's reform principles; the four pillars of prevention, performance, people and partnership, a recognition of the importance of place and utilising co-production and assets-based methodology to deliver improvement in practice.

Innovative participatory systems-based methods which can help address the challenges of public service reform exist but have not yet been applied in this context.   In this project, the student will draw on three system-based methods (SBMs): Strategic Options Development and Analysis (SODA), Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), and System Dynamics (SD).  The aim is to develop concrete accounts of how these SBMs, SODA, SSM and SD, can be used (in isolation or combination) to help service providers and communities to reform their services in a thoughtful and participative manner.  We envisage the student will undertake a small number of  action research case studies, where we will actively seek to deploy the SBMs in question to help service managers and key stakeholders (e.g. community planning partnerships, third sector) discuss and agree system reforms following the principles of the Scottish approach and the 4 pillars of reform.   The development of the case studies will be informed by insights from What Works Scotland which is expected to be launched in June 2014.

The student will be supervised by Professors Alec Morton and Susan Howick and will be expected to interact regularly with the Scottish Government as the sponsor and part-funder of this proposal.  

The studentship covers home tuition fees and a stipend of £13,863 pa for 3 years.  Candidates are required to have an excellent Honours (Undergraduate) degree in a relevant business, scientific or social science subject, and a Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred.   An understanding of the Scottish approach to public service delivery and reform would also be desirable.  Interested applicants should send a CV and a short statement of research interest to Professor Alec Morton (alec.morton@strath.ac.uk) by 31st May.  Applicants need to be eligible for UK/EU fees and should also read and confirm that they are eligible for funding according to the ESRC academic and residential criteria, summarised here:http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/postgraduates/prospective-students/eligibility/index.aspx.  The selected candidate will also need to be approved by the Scottish Graduate School-Doctoral Training Centre (http://www.socsciscotland.ac.uk/). 



Professor Alec Morton
Department of Management Science
Strathclyde Business School 
University of Strathclyde
Glasgow



Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014
Huw Evans

During 2013 I undertook to find out whether there was interest in rejuvenating a COR SIG.  As an independent consultant without the infrastructure of a large organisation to draw upon my approach had its limitations but I sought to make it as open and transparent as possible - perhaps as COR focused an approach as possible ....

From a web-based survey of ORS members I received fifty-nine responses, of which thirty-two supported having a COR SIG.  One respondent was not in favour and twenty-five were undecided.  Following on from the survey a workshop was organised at the OR55 conference at Exeter where people sought to explore how a COR SIG could/should be developed.

Since OR55 there have been further discussions and exchanges about how to take the development of a COR SIG forward.  We now have a core group of people interested in developing the COR agenda and it is time to reconstitute a committee and move forwards.

Our first meeting will be an online conference on 26 March 2014.  We'll let you know how it goes.

 

 



DETAILS OF TALK
 
TItle: Performance Management in the Public and Third Sectors- avoiding the pitfalls
 
Presenter: Max Moullin, Director Public Sector Scorecard Research Centre
 
Date/Time: Wednesday 2nd April 2014 at 17:00

Venue: West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, LS2 7UP.

Refreshments (tea/coffee/cookies) will be available before the meeting but please confirm your attendance to ensure we provide sufficient for everybody.

Please contact James Crosbie on jamescrosbie@hotmail.co.uk to confirm your attendance.

Max will begin the evening with an interactive presentation on the many pitfalls of managing and measuring performance and how to overcome them. He will also discuss, with case studies, a number of performance frameworks such as the Balanced Scorecard and the Public Sector Scorecard. He will talk about the importance of focussing on outcomes and evidence-based drivers of outcomes and of a performance management culture focussed on improvement, accountability and change, rather than a top-down blame culture. 

He will then facilitate a group exercise encouraging participants to apply the learning to an organisation chosen by the group. 

While most of the examples given will be from the public and third sectors, the topic is just as relevant to those working in the private sector.

Max is director of the Public Sector Scorecard Research Centre and a visiting fellow at Sheffield Business School, where he was principal lecturer for over 25 years. Max's earlier career was in OR in the Departments of the Environment, Transport and Health before becoming senior section leader in British Coal's OR Executive. He is a Fellow of the Operational Research Society and the Chartered Quality Institute. 

Max Moullin
Director, Public Sector Scorecard Research Centre
Visiting Fellow, Sheffield Business School 
Max is a Fellow of the Chartered Quality Institute and the Operational Research Society and is a Chartered Quality Professional.
He is a member of the steering group of the Healthcare Advisory Forum